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New Hope businesses listed as distribution sites for far-right publication


New Hope has a reputation of being an inclusive and tolerant community. So when a free publication with the innocuous title “Our Town” was found stacked outside various business venues in New Hope, many saw it as just another free advertising publication.

But a closer look revealed it as a thin masquerade for long, venomous right-wing polemics, blasting liberals and people on “the left” as “enemies of our country’s values, culture and freedoms.”

Even more disconcerting, however, is that the highly polarized publication has a distribution list that includes several New Hope establishments that are seemingly unaware that they are listed as circulation sites.

They include Olive-n-Grape, Stephan House (which no longer exists as such), Villa Vito, C’est la Vie, Havana, The Landing, Hot Stuff and The Greenhouse. A quick visit to the establishments reveals that most if not all are unaware that they appear on a page listing 260 businesses in the region as unwitting distribution sites, including five in Lambertville, N.J.

“I just throw them in the trash,” said Glen Herder, an employee at the Olive-N-Grape on Bridge Street. Mike Lawson, manager at Olivia’s Bridge Street Inn across the street, does likewise, pointing to a pile of “Our Town” magazines in the trash.

“We’re listed as Stephan House, but that business no longer exists at this location,” he said. Next door at Villa Vito Restaurant, a stack of the magazines sat on an outdoor table near the front window, cockled by the damp and misty weather. Villa Vito was not yet open and no-one from the restaurant was available for comment.

The bi-monthly publication is a business run by Robert and Dorothy Beierle out of Newfoundland, Pa., which began franchise operations in January 2006. It contains incendiary rhetoric that is echoed by similar lengthy tomes on its Facebook Page “Our Town USA.”

In a community that celebrates its rich ethnic and cultural diversity, the rhetoric advanced in the pages of the magazine are particularly incongruous.

The page blasts immigrants – and while the Facebook page talks about rapes and murders, it is clear that it is less a measured discussion about criminal law than a xenophobic rant with statements made in the current issue warning of “an invading army” that would see the American flag torn down and replaced with a “South American flag.” (It should be mentioned that there is no “South American flag” but rather only flags from the 12 independent countries that comprise South America.)

In a village with a very active LGBTQ community, Beierle has also warned of sexual crimes against children that would result from enabling accommodations for transgendered people whom he referred to as sexual deviates and predators.

The general manager of Havana who asked to be identified simply as “Ernie” expressed incredulity when this journalist apprised him of the publications at Havana’s doorstep. He stated that given the culture of clients that the businesses on Main and Bridge streets cater to, the magazine seemed particularly inappropriate.

“We’re not political,” he said. “I don’t care about your race, creed, religion, sexual identity – nothing. We’re New Hope – come as you are and you are as you come. Just be a nice human being.”

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